Below is an email from the Texas Department of State Health Services in response to a raw milk customer’s inquiry about the legality of raw milk distribution in 2013. We have highlighted specific statements.
From: McCreary,Dan (DSHS)
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:06 AM
To: [name redacted]
Subject: RE: Raw milk “distribution”
Ms. _______ We received the following questions from you:
Question 1 (November 19, 10:58 am): “Why is it illegal for a co-op member (me) to pick up other co-op members orders when I travel to Grandview and pass them out to them after I return to Fort Worth?”
Question 2 (November 19, 3:35 pm): I purchase dairy products at one or more raw milk dairies. The dairies do not deliver to my address. On occasion a co-op member will bring my order, and possibly others up to this area. I do not purchase and distribute raw dairy. I occasionally host for dairy and/or other products and serve as a collective pickup site for friends and other co-op acquaintances.
Please give me, in writing, what the state law says that inhibits me from hosting a pickup site for customers that have already purchased at the farm so that I can show it to the City of Fort Worth tomorrow.
DSHS Response: It is not a violation of state regulations for a dairy customer to purchase raw milk from a farmer at the farm for themselves and for others as you indicate you are doing for your COOP (and other members may do for you). It also is not a violation of state regulations for you to deliver that milk to other COOP members or to have them pick it up from you. However, you are asking DSHS to clarify the permissiveness of this activity within the jurisdiction of the city of Fort Worth. We cannot do that. Local jurisdictions may have stricter standards in adopted local ordinances. So, you really need to work with the City of Fort Worth to clarify their requirements for the activities you are conducting.
A little more information that may be helpful: Texas Milk and Dairy regulations specifically prohibit the sale (including delivery) of raw milk off of the farm by a dairy. The purpose of this was so that customers could actually see the condition of the dairy. As long as the dairy is not delivering raw milk to you, then the dairy is not in violation of their state permit.
We apologize for not responding more quickly. We were receiving a lot of information and inquiries from a number of fronts and wanted to be sure we provided you with an accurate response.
Daniel McCreary, Manager
Policy, Standards, and Quality Assurance Unit